This activity explores how ancient Sun observers made use of natural and built structures to mark solar alignments observed at different times of the year, particularly around the solstices and equinoxes. In Part 1, the teacher prepares a horizon table that represents the Earth’s horizon. In Part 2, students create functioning models of an existing ancient solar observatory or design their own observatory. In Part 3, students test their model using the horizon table and a flashlight as the Sun. The lesson includes discussion questions, background information about Maya astronomy, a checklist for science notebook write-ups, and a math extension activity that measures shadows. This activity is the seventh lesson in the Ancient Eyes Look to the Skies curriculum.


  • Mathematics > General

Education Levels:

  • Grade 1
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  • Grade 4
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NSDL,Grade 4,Grade 5,NSDL_SetSpec_ncs-NSDL-COLLECTION-000-003-112-115,Magnetic declination,Astronomical time,Mathematics,History of science,Earth and space science:Earth history:Archeology,Upper Elementary,The nature of science:The scientific process,Geographic north,Life Science,The nature of science:Science and society,Archaeoastronomy,Middle School,oai:nsdl.org:2200/20140407123221998T,The nature of technology:The design process,Elementary School,Civil time,Natural history,History/Policy/Law,Earth and space science:Earth, moon and sun:Days,Heliophysics,The nature of technology:Technology and society,Magnetic north,Vocational/Professional Development Education,Mathematics:Measurement,Earth and space science:Earth, moon and sun:Seasons,Technology,Geoscience



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